The Pitfalls of Excessive Sleeping

The Pitfalls of Excessive Sleeping

To snooze or not to snooze is a quandary or predicament that may not have been on Shakespeare’s mind while he was busy penning the Hamlet. However, most of us who’ve trouble getting 7-8 hours of sound sleep every night or those who feel lethargic despite being in bed for 10 hours should have enough reasons to feel alarmed if slumber experts are to be believed. Just as lack of quality sleep may lead to your gaining weight, developing cardiac issues, suffering from diabetes, and worst of all premature demise, too much of snoozing can also cause the grave health issues.

Professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School is of the opinion that individuals with a tendency to oversleep are at greater risk of suffering from lifestyle diseases compared to those who doze for 7-8 hours. It is estimated that about 30% of the adult US population slumber for more than 8 hours. The tendency or proclivity to stay in bed for longer hours increases as you grow older. Sleep specialists have not been able to establish whether this propensity is a symptom of some underlying sickness or a sign that you’re vulnerable to some disease or disorder in the future.

The general feeling which takes precedence is that sleeping longer than is necessary on an everyday basis makes you a potential candidate for health issues. Some medical experts like Michael Irwin, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UCLA (David Geffen School of Medicine) feel that sleeping extended hours means you’re not sleeping soundly.
In other words, you’re staying put in bed for hours but getting sound sleep. The takeaway is that neither insufficient nor excessive snoozing is conducive from the perspective of health. You could be at risk of suffering the following health problems if you oversleep occasionally.

1. Your heart takes the maximum toll
Sleeping for long is certainly not good for your heart, regardless of what you think. Of all the diseases and disorders, maximum adults perish from heart disease. Your chances of dying go up by 34 percent if you log in over 8 hours of sleep. Women are at far greater risk of contracting heart disease and succumbing to a heart attack in comparison to men simply on account of their sleeping longer hours.

2. You’re at risk of developing diabetes
Sleeping more results in blood sugar levels going up abnormally which puts you in the high risk zone of getting bogged down with type 2 diabetes. Your staying in bed for 10 hours means you remain sedentary for longer hours which again increase risks of becoming overweight and suffering from diabetes.

3. You could fall prey to depression
The more you sleep, the higher your chances of falling prey to depression. However, this is just a generalization which is yet to be proven clinically. More often than not, symptoms of depression may get worse if you remain cosseted in bed with your eyes shut. Slumbering soundly for 7-8 hours and remaining physically active will surely keep you in high spirits.

4. You’ll have problems concentrating
If you’re a chronic late riser, you’ll be at your wits’ end in solving simple everyday tasks and find it an uphill task to concentrate. Your brain will function at a slower rate, and it may sound unbelievable but you’re also at an enhanced risk of premature or untimely demise.

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Why is Oatmeal Healthy?

Why is Oatmeal Healthy?The wonders of oatmeal are often repeated in literature on good grains, but the short recommendations often do not explain why a hearty bowl of the breakfast favorite is actually good for you. The fact is that oatmeal contains soluble fiber which takes a longer time to leave the stomach and can help you feel fuller for a longer period of time. This alone has benefits when it comes to stopping overeating and controlling one’s weight. With a growing number of people facing issues with being overweight or obese, this is a benefit that should not be overlooked.

Even a half cup a day of oatmeal can be enough to get many of the health benefits associated with it over the longer term. The solubility of the fiber in oatmeal allows it to absorb water to make it even larger and more viscous as it moves through the gastrointestinal system. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, acts as a bulking agent and does not have the same dynamics within the intestines.

The soluble fiber in oatmeal can also help with another related condition to being overweight- hyperlipidemia, or excessive LDL cholesterol levels (LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol). Some studies suggest that the impact may be as much as 10-15% in terms of a reduction in LDL for those who regularly consume oatmeal. The fiber content may also be associated with benefits when it comes to reducing blood pressure and in turn also reducing cardiovascular risk.

Even the American Heart Association recommends a diet that is high in fiber (25-30 grams per day) and oatmeal can help reach that target. Recent data shows that only half of Americans reach that amount currently!

The great thing when it comes to oatmeal is that there are many different types as well as ways in which to consume it, making it more likely that you will find a way that is palatable to your tastes. Steel-cut oats contain the whole oat grain, which rolled oats are dehulled and steamed. Both have a unique taste. Instant oats are similar to rolled oats except that they are steamed for a long amount of time. Whatever you choose, there are many great recipes out there which can make it a delightful treat- just make sure you are not choosing products or recipes that have too much added sugar as that can negate some of the health benefit! This is especially a concern with the instant varieties available in grocery stores, but can be true of any oatmeal dish.

Once you find a low-sugar dish of oatmeal that you like, you can work it into your daily diet and will hopefully start to see results over time. The best time to consume the oatmeal is in the morning from the perspective that the GI impacts will be compounded with consumption earlier in the day. This goes perfectly with the accepted use of oatmeal as a breakfast food. Try adding different fruits to the dish for added flavor and nutrition.

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Fiber May Help Slow Down Aging

Fiber May Help Slow Down Aging

Fiber is known to have many health benefits, particularly related to maintaining a good digestive system. A new study suggests that it may have even broader impacts on health and aging. A study of 1,600 adults were looked at and 250 of them had successful aging- a term described as being free of a variety of major diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. People who had a higher level of eating fiber had a 79 percent increase in successful aging versus the comparator. It is an interesting finding which could lead to changes down the road in how we look at nutrition and aging.

While this is still a preliminary study and more robust data is needed before making a conclusion one way or another, it validates the importance of getting enough fiber in your diet. If you need to increase your fiber intake, try to look to fruits and vegetables first, but if you feel like fiber is still lacking, there are a number of supplements that you can buy over the counter that will help with this- including Fiber One and Metamucil. There are also a number of snacks now on the market with added fiber- these can also be used to supplement your natural intake of fiber (just make sure those snacks don’t contain too much sugar, fat, or other unwanted attributes!)

It is still unclear which mechanism the fiber played in the anti-aging activity and if it was statistically significant. It is possible that some of the impact was due to weight loss which can be caused by fiber as the body can have increased satiety from the increased fiber intake. Some confounders were also not looked at- including exercise and sleep habits. For these reasons, more studies and perhaps more robust designs (such as randomized controlled trials) are needed in order to really draw conclusions that can be applied to individual therapeutic decision-making.

Healthy living is a very important part of ensuring health aging. While this data is too early to really act upon, there are a number of other more proven things that you can do in order to ensure that you age as appropriate and live the healthiest lifestyle possible. Amongst these lifestyle choices are making sure that you get enough exercise (at least 15 minutes a day for five days a week, 30 minutes or more a day if possible) and making sure you eat healthy and well-balanced meals. When it comes to your diet you want to make sure you eat plenty of veggies and fruits as well as a good amount of protein while limiting fats, oils, processed foods, and bad carbs- especially sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Beyond exercising and eating well, make sure you get a good night’s sleep every day and try to keep a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible (sleep hygiene can be a very important part of good mental health). Do these fundamental things and you are sure to live a healthy and well lifestyle.

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Beet Juice a Workout Necessity?

Beet Juice a Workout Necessity?Many athletes, gym rats, and sports enthusiasts alike believe that beet juice in the form of a full sized 12 oz cup, or even “shots” is the solution to dilated blood vessels, muscles, and nitrate to nitrous oxide conversion.

The constriction of blood vessels and a lack of natural nitrous oxide build-up in the muscles minimizes work-out effects, likelihood of full expansion, greater potential, and even recovery quality post-workouts.

Recent research conducted by Penn State University scholars and professors indicate that there is a possibility that consuming large amounts of beets for the sake of muscle endurance and enhanced performance may be unlikely – or at least for younger athletes. Studies showed that the muscle blood flow and vessel function did not improve or widen with the majority of test-subjects.

Dilation and physiological improvements on a beet-rich diet, “shots”, or shakes might also be less than originally thought because workouts are not actually intense enough to demand such widening of blood vessels and dilation.

Continued medical research and testing demonstrates a possibility of improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However again, strongly dependent upon a test-subjects age and present health conditions as well.

Examining blood-flow, medical condition changes, and vascular endothelial functionality or potential can be a difficult task. Gauging such physiological changes can be especially difficult over short periods of time, regardless of workout intensity.

Professional athletes and those who are involved with especially heavy lifting sessions find themselves at a loss for vascular expansion or elasticity, and in turn seek such vascular endothelial optimality by using various supplements. Often, such individuals attempt to consume the compounds found in beets and beet juice through pills or herbs.

Beet juice, like many vegetable juices is of course good for the health, digestive track, and improves the condition of one’s blood and blood-flow.

While scientific research showed that beet juice causes a sort of artery “de-stiffening” effect, how it differentiates across test-subjects is a difficult test and concept to understand. Also, a certain level of vascular “de-stiffening” is required to really benefit from any blood-vessel expansion and absorption.

Those who successfully obtain health benefits from beet juice find more effective, and larger muscular growth. This, in turn effects how cells use oxygen, and in turn where and how fast the oxygen is carried to muscles – directly impacting both muscle performance and long-term growth.

If beet juice successfully shows vascular dilation, then it’s probable to assume that to some extent such nutritious consumption directly impacts and stimulates advanced, desirable muscle growth.

The liquidation and beet juice “shots” created by many sports-enthusiasts and gym cafeteria’s alike is meant to deliver an adequate, rapid amount of nitrous oxide promotional nutrients and minerals. In turn, beat juice is thought to even add to supplemental growth via its many beneficial, nutrient-rich chemical properties.

Just as the most intense workouts have the highest probability for increasing muscle fatigue and in turn growth, the same can be said for the application or consideration of specific meats, fruits, or vegetables such as beets and their “purity”.

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Nutrients In Fermented Foods Can Be Good For Health

Nutrients In Fermented Foods Can Be Good For HealthFermented foods have much more value than most people realize. These types of foods are actually full of nutrients and allow for the presence of excellent probiotics that assist the body in more ways than one.

Basically, fermentation means that a food is exposed to a series of chemical reactions when exposed to bacteria. The bacteria help to transform the food source to produce vitamins and nutrients in a beneficial way. When you know which fermented foods do what, you’ll have a better chance at dietary selections that benefit one and all.

These foods can help in weight loss. It’s due to the probiotic advantage of such foods. They prevent or remedy inflammation that make it difficult to burn off the excess calories. Not only that, but optimizing the digestive system, nutrients can be more efficiently absorbed. All help in increasing the metabolism and burning excess calories stored as fat.

This goes in tandem with better digestion. Using fermented foods that repair and maintain the digestive system means the body will be extracting the right amounts and types of nutrients, producing the right bacteria that should bring about optimum efficiency in digestion and deployment of essential vitamins and minerals throughout the body.

With any dietary regimen, a healthy outlook is essential. Knowing the various food groups, how they should be selected and prepared gives one a greater advantage regarding the success of one’s health goals. If you’re body building or running track, or even engaging in a good tennis exercise regimen, your dietary choices should include some of the fermented foods available. In some cases you can prepare your own products thus saving money and having the foods prepared to your specifications.

Foods like kefir, a fermented milk product, has high levels of calcium B12, magnesium, and vitamin K2 and more. There’s Kombucha a tasty blend of sugar and black tea. It’s chock full of B vitamins, probiotics, and more. Don’t forget about good old fashioned sauerkraut! This old stand by you can make at home the traditional way. Many people will attest to its nutritional power and is a favorite the world over. Sauerkraut has Vitamins A, B, C, and K, and is a good source of calcium, sodium, iron, and copper and magnesium too. It aids in circulation and in digestion and helps remedy inflammation.

There are many more fermented foods that should be in the repertoire of everyone’s diet. Peruse around and you’ll find many a tasty favorite just waiting for you.

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Better Sleep a Better You today’s bustling economy and demanding work-force, more and more Americans are not getting anywhere near adequate sleep, complain of insomnia, restless syndromes, and in turn are not properly energized or ‘fully away’ for studies, work, and other activities. This directly impacts the health, in a multitude of negative ways. In fact, according to the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as half of all Americans are not well-rested on a daily basis. This is a very concerning statistic, and in turn negatively impacts not only the national, but also the global workforce, and how effective such systems, government, NGO, and other company-workers perform.

Fighting restlessness does not have to be an impossible problem to cope with or treat. In fact, as opposed to relying on over-the-counter drugs or “natural substances” or occurring chemicals in the body, such as Melatonin, there are a few rather “easy” life changes that you can make and begin to experience the positive changes from almost immediately. Let’s take a look at some of the most common unhealthy habits that are more often than not, responsible for a lack of sleep, or total-loss of rest when combined.

Alcohol and Sleep

Contrary to popular belief, that handful of beers, multiple glasses of wine, or shots you might take before sleep are in-fact not so good for your health, nor are they positive for more consistent sleeping routines–and results. In fact, once alcohol wears off, it has been scientifically proven to interrupt and destroy sleep, specifically the REM process, and chemically alters your body both temporarily and permanently in a multitude of negative ways—in particular the brain. So, consider doing a bit less drinking and a lot more preparation and sleeping—your body deserves it!

Consistent Schedule and Eating

Believe it or not, including via your biological clock, you are more than capable and often do it without notice—to control, program, and condition your mind and body for a sort of ‘sleep-routine’ on a daily basis. In fact, overeating, not eating enough, and unhealthy or excessive snacking before or near sleep has shown to negatively impact the body’s ability to begin winding down, adequately prepare for rest, and in turn negatively impact your health—or ‘recharge’.

Stop the Naps and Know When it’s time to Sleep

Unhealthy habits or patterns of napping in the day time or early evening can easily disrupt, disable, and destroy healthy sleeping patterns or the ability to sleep. Scientifically, at maximum, a 30 minute nap is more than adequate for a fast ‘recharge’. Anything longer then this, is indeed, counterintuitive to your total energy levels and sleep schedule.

Lastly, consider the benefits and practicality behind initiating and following a standard bed-time routine on a regular basis. Don’t confuse your body and brain by keeping lights on, playing on the computer, etc. In fact, even running and glancing—not even fully watching—a television can make it nearly impossible to fall asleep, as all of the aforementioned activities or decisions either directly interfere with, or demand processing by the brain which should otherwise have been focused on resting and sleep.

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Chiropractic Care for Sciatica

Chiropractic Care for SciaticaSciatica is a painful condition that is just as discomforting as the name sounds. It involves the sciatic nerve, which is the largest in the body. This nerve, which runs from the bottom of the spinal cord to the hip and along the thigh, can undergo inflammation in certain conditions which can be a menacing experience for patients. Sciatica is often a cause of severe lower back pain and can greatly damper activities of daily living.

It is really the nerve compression in this area that causes the burning sensations for the patients. Some sufferers describe the sensation as almost electric or like burning. It can be aggravated from things as little as a tiny cough or from activities such as bending or lifting even to the extent that those are done just in the normal course of a day. Thousands of people suffer from sciatica and struggle without many great options. Medications only help cover the pain, are not very effective, can be quite costly (and a hassle to get via the prescription system), and may also come with many unwanted side effects.

One intervention that has shown some promise at combating sciatica is massage therapy. Trained professionals such as chiropractors can help decrease the pain or even remove it (and prevent future cases) by doing certain massage and manipulation techniques which may actually help reduce the inflammation in the lower back and in turn improve function. A chiropractic professional is trained in dealing with nerve pain and the many things that can cause it. They can also help come up with a solution that works holistically and really gives the patient the maximal return for any given intervention.

Beyond massages, chiropractors may be able to offer up other advice that will help reduce issues with sciatica. In particular, hot and cold compresses can help with reducing the inflammation if utilized properly. Furthermore, a chiropractic professional may be able to do certain spinal adjustments which help reduce interference of the sciatic nerve with other parts of the body and in turn reduce the pain signals which travel up to the brain and tell a patient that something is wrong. Sciatica is a very complex and multi-factorial disorder, but chiropractors are well equipped to decipher the various moving parts and to come up with a solution that is right for each individual. If you are suffering from sciatica consider making an appointment with your chiropractor today.

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Light Therapy for Depression

Light Therapy for DepressionDepression can be a terrible disease and one that thousands of people nationwide suffer from, some chronically. The thing with depression is that there can be many factors which can cause it or help exacerbate its effects including the dim light of winter. The common treatments for depression include counseling and a slew of anti-depressive medications, many of which still do not have great effectiveness data. They are still probably the first line option that most people should try (your primary care doctor or a specialist should really be making the decision), but for many, these options will end in treatment failure.

Unfortunately, we are still in the early stages of really understanding the brain and the diseases that impact it, so we don’t yet have great solutions to treat diseases like depression. That does not mean, however, that there are not many options which can be tried and have shown effectiveness in various groups. One potential therapy for the disease that is growing in popularity is light therapy. Given that the darkness of winter can cause seasonal depression, it may be possible that exposure to light has the opposite impact. A small study done in Canada has produced these results and will surely drive future research in the arena.

Light therapy was superior to placebo in this study, with the most effectiveness being seen in the light therapy plus antidepressant group of the study. The antidepressant used in this study was fluoxetine 20mg, one of the most common antidepressants that is regularly prescribed. The light therapy consisted of exposure to a fluorescent light box for 30 minutes each morning. Given that this can easily be simulated by other means, it may be a cheap option that can be added on to initial depression therapy at a relatively low cost and without many additional side effects, etc. If it turns out that it can even improve a small subset of the population’s disease, there is huge potential for this intervention given the cost-benefit assessment. If you are suffering from depression and have not had any success with conventional treatments (or are currently on traditional medications), you may want to ask your doctor if you can try some form of light therapy to help with your disease.

Light therapy is just the latest in what is hopefully a long line of innovations in the treatment of depression as we learn more about the biology of the brain and depression.

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Pregnancy and your Postural Health

Pregnancy and your Postural HealthMany people don’t realize it, but in addition to the many hormonal and chemical changes that a woman goes through during pregnancy, back pains and challenges are also most prevalent before pregnancy.

Why the back ‘bends’

Throughout the course of pregnancy a woman will begin to (indirectly and sometimes unnoticed at first) lean forward as her lower back muscles and ligaments become weakened by the changes and positioning of the uterus, in combination with the added weight of a growing baby.

The weight of the baby will also cause stress on both a woman’s glutes and hamstrings—which is why Yoga and personal (safe) fitness comes so highly recommended for women during pregnancy of all stages.

In combination with lower back and abdominal pain, the chemical changes of pregnancy also cause muscles to become more ‘relaxed’ or loose, especially the ligaments, and in turn leave a pregnant woman even more susceptible to injury and unwanted risks or weaknesses in many common areas throughout the body, but especially the back.

Where a Chiropractor comes in

While nearly all chiropractors should already be well versed and educated on treating pregnant women and their body, some are more experienced than others. Some chiropractic’s specialize in treating women specifically during and post-pregnancy.

Chiropractors can be trusted to effectively treat and rejuvenate a pregnant woman’s physical health and help alleviate pains through reputable forms of treatment.

These treatments range from stretching exercises, back, leg, neck, and arm adjustments—all the way to the massaging and loosening of key trouble areas during pregnancy such as the quadratus lumborum and piriformis muscles.

These muscles play vital roles in flexibility and mobility, and again with the added weight of a baby inside of you, it becomes more and more difficult, as well as straining, to complete one’s daily routine in such condition without strengthening and recovery exercises.

Strengthening Routine

Chiropractors aim to treat muscle pain and help manage it right at its source through soft tissue exercises and conditioning.

For pregnant women, this often originates around the uterus during pregnancy. In fact, that’s why there are so many common cases of pregnant women with sacroiliac joint troubles or pubic symphysis.

These conditions not only worsen on their own if left untreated, but can also pose both a great challenge and threat to your pregnancy.

A woman wants to be physically as strong as possible, and in the best shape before going into labor. Her muscles, ligaments, and uterus muscles should all be well prepared for the incredible high velocity of pain, stretching, and challenges that it will soon undertake.

Why Pregnancy and Chiropractic’s go Hand-in-Hand

One of the biggest and understandably most credible reasons that chiropractic treatment is popular amongst pregnant women is due to its more or less ‘holistic approach’. Although some basic machines or mechanisms for stretching the body or simple (OTC) topical medications might be applied, in comparison to other standard medical professionals, chiropractor’s approach treating people in general, but especially pregnant women, with the utmost ‘holistic’ or natural, safe, and easy approaches and treatment for pain management and prevention.

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Relaxing your mind and restoring your Health

Studies of relaxation and holistic approaches to stress.

Relaxing your mind and restoring your HealthRecent studies conducted by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston demonstrated a substantial decrease in medical-services usage, submissions, and health treatments necessary over a years time. Through this study, 17,400 test subjects were evaluated, and approximately 4,400 of these subjects showed great improvement in their need for medical services. Although such categorization of elements within a scientific study are broad, to some extent, they do demonstrate that upwards of 1/3 individuals later did not require ER services within that one year period. While there are many different variables to take into consideration, such as the social interactions involved with Yoga and Meditation, it’s worth noting that exercises such as these are not only useful for the mind as it releases positive dopamine and serotonin to your brain, but also because it’s a good way to overall distress and focus your mind on something more not only positive, but also productive.

Health experts say that due to the various ‘movements’ involved in yoga, as well as the concentration and practice, that individuals are more prone to begin relying on such exercises or ‘adaptors’ to help cope with stress in the future. The fluid movements involved in yoga, as well as deep-breathing exercises are likely to condition your mind to also better cope with fight or flight responses throughout your daily activities and experiences—as opposed to just impulsively, often negatively, responding to a reaction or undesired experience. Yoga and meditation are also shown to improve health as they tone the body, making you both feel better about yourself as well as look better—especially your physique in the abdominal area, which is a common aspiration for many!

The reality and evaluating your options…

While Yoga and Meditation are not for everyone, it is gaining great popularity across the United States as a holistic approach to better managing stress, as well as traumatic experiences—according to Dr. James Stahl, director of the Institute for Technology Assessment at Massachusetts General.  In addition to this, cardiac conditions are improved, and inflammation is commonly reduced throughout the body as individuals rely on such activity(s) for within a daily or weekly routine. Training your mind to do something different, or feel different ways is a very effective attempt and measure at improving the flexibility of your mind and how it decides or attempts to handle different kinds of stressors. In fact, it’s been reported that Yoga and Meditation have not only aided in improving physical and mental health, but specifically contributed to individuals quitting nasty and dangerous habits such as smoking and drinking. Unlike drinking and smoking, there is no ‘hangover’ or guilt later on. In fact, after a class of Yoga or Meditation you also feel rejuvenated for an extended period of time, as well as accelerate your metabolism for at least one to two days—another common health goal for individuals looking to better manage or lose weight.

Of course while such activities are not going to practically be affordable for everyone, there are always alternatives, pointed out a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In fact, collecting videos online and creating your own relaxation and meditation group is a perfect example of a more cost-effective approach for trying it out on your own!

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